British brand William & Son has announced the launch of a Gala Jewellery Collection to debut at the National Portrait Gallery Gala later this month, with the Duchess of Cambridge in attendance.
A breakfast to launch the limited edition suite of jewels was held in the National Portrait Gallery’s Tudor Gallery, which provided inspiration to William & Son’s in-house designers. Head of jewellery design, Nicola Sanderson, said at the breakfast: ‘When you first see a portrait you might think, oh that’s a nice picture of so-and-so…but then when you look more closely and learn more about each portrait, there’s all sorts of symbolism and hidden meanings within them.’
One portrait, which was particularly impactful, is the large ‘Ditchley Portrait’ of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I, which was painted by Marcus Gheeraerts around 1592. The piece contains powerful symbolism with the powerful queen flanked by Latin inscriptions alluding to forgiveness. The ruff that frames her face, and was an important status symbol in Elizabethan England, is said to have provided the foundation on which the Gala Jewellery Collection was designed.
The collection contains a pair of earrings and a transformable necklace with a 20.62-carat oval aquamarine surrounded by a fan of white diamonds in a baguette cut. The diamonds are set on different levels in order to give the appearance that they undulate as they circle – a nod to the ruff collar and the sun beams they were originally designed to represent. The transformable necklace allows for the central pendant to be removed and replaced by one of the smaller stones from the earrings.
Handmade in London, the 34.32 carats of Madagascan aquamarines and 11.83 carats of diamonds were sourced by William & Son’s Head of Jewellery Clemence Devaux. Of the pieces, she said: ‘The aquamarines are such a beautiful, deep blue colour – known as Santa Maria colour aquamarines…And baguette-cut diamonds are one of my favourite cuts, but they are difficult to source in such high quality as this. It’s truly a one-off piece: even if you asked us to make another one, we couldn’t because we wouldn’t be able to find these stones again.’
It’s thought that the set – which will appear on the Gala red carpet – won’t be seen in public again once it is sold. With the Duchess of Cambridge due to attend the Gala, however, there’s a chance we could see the regally inspired pieces join the royal collection if we’re lucky.